If you’ve ever wondered what becomes of these child actors we watch in our favorite movies, then Zack Ward, the bully Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story, is an amazing cautionary tale.
For the three of you who haven’t seen A Christmas Story, I’m sorry for your souls, and here’s a quick overview. Ralphie is a nine-year-old in Indiana who wants a Red Ryder BB Gun for Christmas. His dad tells him “you’ll shoot your eye out”. Ralphie and his friends are bullied by the aforementioned Scut and his flunkie Grover. Ralphie beats up Scut, gets in trouble, then spends the rest of the movie watching himself and his family have a pretty angst-filled, hilariously unlucky Christmas until the end, when it all gets better.
Scut, the larger than life monster in the first part of the movie grew up into a regular-sized ginger man named Zack Ward.
He’s now my age, 42, and a kinda sorta working actor. He was Chris Titus’ stoner brother in his sitcom in the mid 1990s. He’s been on CSIs, several television shows and movies, including Freddy vs. Jason. His IMDB is respectable plus he’s stayed out of prison, rehab, and Lindsay Lohan’s sphere of influence. But recently, Zack, known to so many of us as the bully of bullies, Scut Farkus, got pushed around himself by people who hired him thirty-years ago.
Ward was only twelve and fresh off a stage in Toronto, Canada, when filmmakers hired him as a glorified extra. They had him run lines with the other actors, liked what they saw, and made him tiny part much larger. But they “forgot” to adjust his contract to pay him royalties on merchandising down the road.
A Christmas Story runs nonstop on TBS during the Holiday season. It grew from this awesome small movie to this “sit your punk ass down It’s A Wonderful Life” juggernaut of a film. Eventually producers and other Hollywood weasels started making side cash off A Christmas Story through toys, cards, and a boardgame. Zack Ward found out that people were playing on his face, sort of, and he wanted to know why he was living in an okay place in Los Angeles while Peter Billingsley, who played Ralphie, was living in a killer pad. The answer? Scut Farkus got beat up twice. Once by Ralphie, and now by the National Entertainment Collectables Association. They sound mean and bully-like, don’t they?
Zack Ward’s taken them and the movie’s filmmakers to court. Citing their contractual error, the filmakers are helping his cause. The NEA offered a settlement but doesn’t want to admit wrongdoing or allow Zack to speak about it. Scut, I mean Zack, threw a snowball back at them saying he wants to be heard and so far hasn’t accepted anything from them. I mean, he kind of already has been heard, though, right?
One can only hope that grown up Scut wakes up Christmas morning with his Red Ryder BB Gun next to him like Ralphie does in the movie. I hope Scut, I mean, Zack makes his bully say uncle.